Amy Coney Barrett: Good vs. necessary

by E. Faye Williams—“It may be good to you, but it’s not good for you” is one of the first thought-provoking sayings I can remember spoken by elders.  Being young and naïve, when I asked about where the statement originated and its’ meaning, elders would only say, “I didn’t make it up!”  Like sayings passed forward by ancestors, its meaning was situational and, with a manipulated explanation, could relate to a variety of circumstances.

Despite its warning, many friends (and, sometimes I) would only seek that thought to feel good.  Many who read this can say the same thing.  Most of us proceed through life looking only for good, often to the detriment of long-term outcomes.  Other courses create stress and challenges we mostly desire not to face.

Rather than situations, we must frequently evaluate good in a person.  This is much more difficult than evaluating situational good; situations are less complex and lack feelings.  For the considerate person, personal offence is not easily delivered, but we sometimes have no alternative.  Thus, we are led to our evaluation of Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

I only know what I’ve read about Barrett.  I cannot attribute motives to that which cannot be explained by word or action.  Readings on Barrett describe her as a “Good Mother.”  This evaluation is based on her being the mother of seven children, including two adopted children of color from Haiti and one developmentally challenged child with Down Syndrome.

Barrett has been identified as a devout Catholic.  Much of her life is centered around her church.  She attended law school at The University of Notre Dame and later served as a law school professor there.

She distinguished herself as an accomplished attorney and served as law clerk for (the equally devout Associate Supreme Court Justice) Antonin Scalia.  She was later appointed as a judge on the 7th Circuit of the US Federal Court.

Her accomplishments notwithstanding, Barrett is not being considered as a good mother, good professor, or a good Catholic.  She is being considered for the skills, ability, deliberations, and the sensitivities she brings as a nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  What must be considered is her fitness for the position opposed to how she is considered among her friends.

As much as freedom OF religion, the First Amendment gives us freedom FROM the imposition of religion.  Barrett is known to have referred to abortion as “always immoral” and, based on her own principles, has twice ruled to restrict abortion access.  These actions foreshadow her inclination to reverse Roe v. Wade and impose state directed reproductive control over the lives of women and the reintroduction of associated back-alley abortion consequences.
In November, SCOTUS will have to decide the Constitutionality of the ACA.  Barrett has already criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ upholding the Affordable Care Act as judicial overreach.  Should she decide, as expected, against the ACA, during our current pandemic millions of Americans will lose healthcare benefits and loss of protections for pre-existing medical conditions.

Her conservatism strongly suggests her support of positions against immigration, environmental protections, LGBTQ+ rights, voting protections, limits on corporate power, and Civil and Women’s Rights.  If confirmed, at 48 years old, she would be the youngest Associate Justice and positioned to potentially influence SCOTUS decisions for the next 30 years.

Barrett may be a good person to her family and associates, but she is not what is necessary for our contemporary society, a society resistant to the regressive reversal of achieved progress.  The patently political and hypocritical confirmation process that drives her nomination may be inevitable, but, when power is regained, I support a response in-kind to address the injustice of this action.

(E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women.)


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